The good news is that a family vacation does not have to mean a visit to Disneyland or a trip to your in-laws. You can take a nice adult vacation that your kids will love too by staying at a resort with on-site child care.
Before you drop-off the kiddies, make sure you know the following information:
- What are the hours of the service?
- What are the minimum and maximum ages allowed? Are they divided into age groups?
- Is the service flexible with how often you come and go? For example, if you only need them to watch your children for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the evening, is that okay?
- How much is the service? Per day? Per hour? Are there discounts for multiple family members?
- How are the staff members vetted? Did they have to pass a background check? Are they resort employees or an outside service?
- Are the staff members trained in child care? More importantly, do they have CPR training specific to children?
- What is the staff member to child ratio? What happens if more children suddenly show-up?
- Can the resort provide private child care service for just your children?
- Is food provided during mealtimes? Snacks throughout the day?
- What activities are provided? Are they indoor activities or outdoor? Are they structured or unstructured? Do the children need special clothes? (Bathing suits, closed toed shoes, etc.)
Resort child care is more like a summer camp than a babysitting service. You can expect your little ones to be entertained and supervised all day. The price for resort child care varies. Many resorts include child care with the purchase of an adult ticket. If child care is not included with your ticket, you can expect to pay on average $16 an hour per child. While there is no universal “best” age to take your child on a trip, there are several factors to consider that will make everyone’s trip more enjoyable. For example: How does your child/children handle new situations? Are they comfortable being away from you for several hours? If you have an only child, will she be comfortable making new friends? Does your child have any special needs that will be difficult for the resort staff to address (i.e. behavioral, physical, emotional, etc.)?
If you are looking for resorts with a reputation of taking good care of little ones look no further. Here is a list of 5 highly recommended resorts known for their child care services.
- Beaches Negril in Jamaica – With the Jamaican laid back attitude, your kids will have a relaxing stay too. Their kid camp program is for all ages, infants to teens, and all staff members are certified nannies with the International Nanny Association. Your child will have fun doing activities like playing in toddler pools, shell collecting, face painting, treasure hunts, puppets, costume time, magic shows, and sandcastle building.
- Club Med in Ixtapa Pacific Mexico – Your kids will never be bored with Club Med’s unique child activities like cooking classes, sports lessons, play time, pool time, and zumba gymnastic classes. All ages are welcome and children are divided into the appropriate age groups.
- Crown Paradise Club in Cancun, Mexico – Cancun is fun for adults but it can also be fun for kids. An added bonus is that Crown Paradise Club allows up to three children in a room with a parent instead of just two. In the Kid’s Paradise Program, your preschooler will enjoy sports, a rock wall, pool time, arts and crafts, beach time, and themed Disney shows.
- The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida – You don’t have to leave the States just to find a good beach resort. At the Breakers Resort, children under the age of 16 stay free in the same room as their parents and there are several kid camps to choose from. Some of the fun preschool age activities include pool time, scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, nature walks, eco tours, basketball, and soccer.
- Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, California - Your kids will get to enjoy some of the unique offerings of San Diego like nature walks on Silver Strand State Beach, whale watching excursions, and trips to Coronado Village when you stay at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. The supervised ages range from 4 to 12 years old and activities include magic tricks, sandcastle building, GPS-led scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and sports.
What do you look for in an onsite child care? Can you recommend a resort with a great child care program?